At public school, David Herbert, brought up in the privileged ranks of Edwardian society, is pitilessly bullied. At home, his only true friend is Nelly Tovey, the young maid he has known since childhood. His father's brutal efforts to make a man of him and his opposition to the Great War lead to David being disowned by his family. Living on a pittance in London, he becomes seriously ill and is nursed to recovery by the devoted Nelly. Though acknowledging their love, Nelly is all too aware of the enormous gulf between them, and it is up to David to look within himself for the courage to defy convention. Can they breach the formidable barriers to their happiness?